Now that We Know Who We Are

In this first of the First Lines series, a series devoted to writers publishing their first book of poetry, Carlinda D’Alimonte charts the emergence of a writer through memories of growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s as the child of Italian immigrants. She explores many of her parents’ early immigrant expe- riences, probing her mother’s trip across the Atlantic, “a nightmare she would never choose” and her father’s arrival, “a few dollars in his pocket, / a dozen words of English on his tongue, offering everything.” She recalls a house fire, a first love, a brother’s passion for hockey, a grandfather’s life made softer on Canadian soil, a pact made long ago with a sister, all moments when her own curiosity, defiance, and desire for truth surfaced. These excursions into the past are precipitated by the devastating loss of her mother, which is the subject of several poems in the collection. These poems are short narratives written in a voice that scratches the hard edges of truth in one small town in Ontario. The collection’s broad themes of immigration, identity, displacement, prejudice, family relationships, and loneliness will resonate with all Canadians.

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